Hyperlinks to website addresses are often included in Microsoft Word documents, Excel spreadsheets or Outlook Emails etc – in this case, instead of opening the website in your default web browser when you click the hyperlink, the error message appears.
Cause Of The Error Message – I came across this error message whilst testing how to work offline in Chrome recently. The typical cause is an odd one – regardless of whether or not you ever use IE, if IE is set to ‘Work Offline’ then web hyperlinks will fail to open and this message is displayed.
If you use Google Chrome or Firefox etc as your default web browser (and hyperlinks normally open directly in that browser) you could be forgiven for thinking that IE settings have nothing to do with it. However, this isn’t the case – without getting too technical, it is likely that the Windows file type of ‘URL’ is still associated with IE.
Therefore, if IE is set to Work Offline, the hyperlink URL can’t be opened (as Windows thinks you have no internet access and are working offline) – even though your default browser may be online and you can open the website if you copy and paste the URL link into it…
Fixing The Error Message
Tip: similar error messages may be caused by other issues e.g. the hyperlink is invalid (copy and paste it into a web browser to see if it opens directly) or corruption of the specific program. This solution applies to the exact error message shown above.
Open IE and click on ‘Tools’ in the Command Bar then click on ‘Work Offline’ to untick it – the hyperlink should now open in your default web browser as usual.
Open IE and click on ‘File’ in the Menu Bar (if Menu Bar is hidden, press ALT to display it) then click on ‘Work Offline’ to untick it – the hyperlink should now open in your default web browser as usual.
This “! Cannot download the information you requested” error message is unusual in that even if IE is not your default browser, IE settings can still prevent hyperlinks from opening.
However, the potential solution is easy and worth investigating before trying more complex fixes such as repairing MS Office or reinstalling a web browser.